Gospel Library for iOS vision

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Usability of paper with features of digital

None of the benefits of paper should be lost when someone moves to digital.

For example:

  • Anybody regardless of skill or education should be able to use the Gospel Library app to browse, read and study.
  • Marking up, annotating, bookmarking must be as easy as grabbing a pen, not the result of navigating menus and options.
  • Flipping between sections (such as D&C and OT both being used in a Sunday School class) must be as simple as "keeping a thumb" in one while looking at the other and flipping back and forth.

Synchronized everywhere

  • All data settings, markings, annotations, notes, bookmarks etc must follow a user wherever they go.
  • A user should not ever have to think about "which device" their content is on.
  • A user should never have to worry about backing up or losing data.
  • A user should be able to read and mark something on an iPhone and pick up their iPad and resume at the same place reading with the same markings.
  • The website, iOS, Android, WebOS and all other devices should all be synchronized with each other via the same services - data created on one is available on all others without any thought of "syncing" - it just happens.


Globally distributed and accessible

  • The app should be available in all countries that the iTunes App Store is available.
  • The application and content should be localized to every language the standard works are available in.
  • A user should be able to quickly switch content to any language - not just the language of their device - so that (for example) an English speaking user could flip to Spanish to teach someone with.
  • Blind users should be able to use iOS VoiceOver to navigate the entire application as well as access audio versions of all content possible (scriptures, talks, videos, etc).

Support all user contexts

The app should be capable of "following" a user to their different use cases in various contexts, such as:

  • personal reading
  • Sunday School
  • Priesthood/RS
  • seminary
  • family reading
  • lesson prep
  • teaching/instructor

In a paper-based setting there may be different books, copies of books, bookmarks, etc., used in different settings. This won't generally exist in a digital world.

A person won't have different $300 devices with different accounts for different contexts - instead the application must adapt and be flexible to them.


As a user moves from personal reading to Sunday School to Elder's Quorum to teaching with the missionaries, each setting requires being at different places in the Standard Works, wanting or not wanting markings and annotations and other such preferences.

Also, remembering where to be in each setting is left to the user rather than the device. This is unlike most "dead tree" technologies which will have bookmarks to hold reading places.

A book left on the nightstand at home versus one in the bag for church "remember" where they are and are contextual to an activity.

Thus, to be easy to end users to incorporate in their lives the application should allow "contexts" which remember the location and settings.


Personal reading:

  • Resume reading at 2 Nephi 26
  • dark mode on
  • Annotations set to "Personal Reading 2010"

Elder's Quorum:

  • Resume reading at General Conference April 2010
  • dark mode off
  • Annotations set to "Show All"

Teaching with missionaries:

  • Resume reading at 3 Nephi 11
  • Language set to Spanish
  • Annotations set to "Show None"

Preparing a talk or lesson

  • Search topical material
  • List points to say
  • Link to references
  • Order talking points and references
  • Display ordered set of talking points with live linked references when speaking

Context switching

Switching between contexts should be as simple as putting down one physical book and picking up another.

The state of these "contexts" must sync between devices to follow a user. Personal reading on an iPad should be able to be resumed on an iPhone.

Native feel and best in breed design

Use native UI elements

The user interface design and user experience should "feel at home" on the iOS devices - using native user interface elements and following Apple Human Interface Guidelines.

For example, text selection, copy/paste, highlighting, navigation etc should use native UI widgets - custom widgets should not be re-invented. Users are most comfortable using UI elements they are accustomed to and trained with through the use of the other apps and the operating system itself.

Design for screen size

The iPad is very different from the iPhone/iPod and needs to be designed for accordingly. Taking the iPhone UI and just "blowing it up" to iPad size is not sufficient. Not only does it poorly leverage all that the iPad can offer, but it often results in poor user experience.

For example, the iPhone screen width is perfect for reading and scrolling verses of scriptures. The iPad on the other hand is very wide and may be better suited to columns of text or a thin column of text with contextual footnotes and references in the page gutter.

Another example is that on the iPhone most button nav bars make sense to be at the bottom but on an iPad the top is generally better suited to how an iPad is used and held.

Focus on design

Functionality and engineering are not enough to make a product great - design means the look and feel down to the last pixel, worrying about things like animates and page transitions, simplifying navigation and feature discovery and polishing every aspect of the user experience.

All of these things drive engineering - not the other way around.

The user experience and design of the application should be thought of first to accomplish the best possible experience for the user and then engineering and development applied to that accomplishment.

Apple interface design guidelines

Examples on iPad

Other Nice Features

Encourage Gospel Study with Schedules

  • Interface with the ward calendars on to make it easy to prepare for lessons
  • Ability to set up study schedules like and be reminded of schedules via notifications.

Share the Gospel

  • Easily share passages, talks, scriptures and other media via email, facebook, and other build in applications.
This page was last modified on 9 April 2018, at 14:45.

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